As per recent reports, Arsenal have their eye on a new keeper.
It’s an area that needs addressing, with Emiliano Martinez leaving for Aston Villa and the untested Matt Macey now coming in as understudy to Bernd Leno.
Over at Icelandic outlet Visir, it’s emerged that work is already underway in north London to sound out some competition for the German, in the shape of Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson at Dijon. I think I speak on behalf of many fellow Gooners that when his name was read out, there was little in the way of facial expression.
Because…. I’ve no idea who he is. Very much a minnow of French football, Dijon are better known for their mustard than their football team, hence why we best brush up on exactly who this Icelandic goalkeeper is.
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He’s Well-Known in the Arsenal Camp
This isn’t just because he’s been scouted by the club, but because he’s worked with members of the backroom staff before.
With Arsenal having raided Brentford for their goalkeeping coach, Inaki Cana Pavon, it just so happens that the Spaniard had Rúnarsson in his group when he was working at Danish side FC Nordsjælland.
The vastly experienced coach was the man behind the publicised pursuit of David Raya, another one of his former students, from his time in west London. That deal, however, now looks dead in the water with the Bees not budging on their stance to not sell. It is claimed that Cana attempted to bring Rúnarsson to Brentford prior to him joining Arsenal.
He’ll Come Cheap
While there is no exact mention of a fee at this moment, we can safely assume that Arsenal won’t be splashing all of the £20m they’ll be earning from Martinez straight into another goalkeeper.
With two years left on his current deal and not a regular starter with Dijon, the Icelander is not be expected to cost more than a nominal fee of £1.5m. What does that mean? All that lovely cash injection can be put to use elsewhere. That. Is. Very. Good.
Nobody springs to mind at the moment, but I’ve heard rumblings of a French midfielder over in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France who is apparently not too bad….
Good Footwork is Among His Best Traits
It won’t come as much surprise that Arsenal have their eye on a technically sound goalkeeper to replace Martinez. Now an imperative element of the style under Arteta, ensuring that the man who comes in to fill the Argentine’s void has boasts this trait almost comes before their actual shot-stopping ability.
Dijon’s chief scout spoke of Rúnarsson in glowing terms upon him joining in 2018: “When we discovered his profile, the interest was immediately strong…He is technically talented, he is not afraid to play high and has very good footwork. In addition, he has the temperament and charisma”.
Not sure how good charisma will be when he’s feeding the ball to Mohamed Elneny under the relentless press of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, but those comments do bode well for the 25-year-old.
Football Runs in His Blood
A family history of football isn’t always necessarily a good thing, but there are plenty of occasions where whatever father did well, his son did too. As it is, Rúnarsson’s dad, Rúnar Kristinsson, is the only Icelander to have made over 100 appearances for the national team.
Sure, he was a midfielder and not a keeper, but he enjoyed a long and fruitful career playing top-flight football.
For Rúnar Alex, he too has a taste of international football with five caps to date, even making the Iceland squad for their remarkable run to the quarter-finals of the 2016 European Championships, which included that win over England.